Places of worship in England and Wales, like temples, mosques, gurdwaras and churches, can now seek a share of the £1 million funding that the government has earmarked to help protect them against hate crimes, the Home Office said in a statement on June 8.
Submission of bids for funding opened on June 8 and will remain open until Aug. 10, 2018. The places of worship can submit bids for projects costing up to £70,000 for protective security measures, and will be required to contribute at least 20 percent of the total cost of the project, the statement added.
The Home Office will grant a funding of up to a maximum amount of £56,000 per place of worship to successful applicants. The funding will cover the costs of security equipment like CCTV, perimeter fencing, access control gates, window locks, intruder alarm, external lighting and security doors, among others. It will not cover the cost of recruiting security personnel.
Bidding can be done for up to three separate security measures. “Funding could also cover the reasonable labor cost for installing the security equipment,” the statement added.
In order to meet the criteria for consideration for funding, the application will need to demonstrate that the place of worship is vulnerable to hate crime or has been subjected to an attack during the last two years and that the hate crime was motivated by hostility or prejudice based on religion or belief, according to the Home Office.
“We are a country of many faiths, and as I said following last year’s appalling terror attack in Finsbury Park an attack on one community is an attack on all of us. Freedom of worship, respect, and tolerance for those of different faiths is fundamental to our values and I am determined to stamp out extremism and hate crime wherever it occurs,” UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, PTI reported.
The attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park in London last year left one dead and many injured.
The Places of Worship Security Funding scheme was launched in 2016. It is worth £2.4 million in total and has helped 89 churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras to install protective measures.
“Communities being able to worship their religion free from intimidation, violence or abusive behavior is a vital principle at the heart of the values we share in this country. This scheme has already helped many places of worship bolster their security and we encourage those who have suffered from or fear hate crime attacks to apply,” Minister for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams, was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Hate crime has been classified as any crime that is motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity by the United Kingdom. The scheme is one of the main commitments contained within the UK government’s Hate Crime Action Plan. The action plan focuses on areas like tackling hate crime from beginning to end – from understanding the drivers of hate crime and dealing with its causes to providing improved support to victims including other areas.